Fifth Avenue Cube Is Hot Photo Target

May 30, 2011

Among the many impressive sights in New York City, Apple’s glass cube entrance to its Fifth Avenue retail store is among the most popular with photographers, according to a researcher who has mapped flicker and picasa photos of the city. Eric Fischer analyzed millions of photographs from the on-line photo site, and used their associated geotags to determine their location. He also used the date and time of the photos to categorize the photos as being shot by locals or tourists. He then plotted the locations to create a heat map that reveals patterns of photographic interest. In New York, hot spots appear in Manhattan around Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Columbus Circle and the now-inconic Fifth Avenue Apple store. Fischer performed the same photo analysis for several other cities, showing that tourists and locals have a very different eye for what is interesting. In other cities with high-profile Apple stores, the stores’ heat is less obvious because they’re surrounded by other attractions.

The maps below show a portion of New York City and Chicago, where picturesque Apple stores are located. Red dots are tourist photos, based on the snaps of one person taken within one month of each other. Blue dots are locals, and yellow are either locals or tourists. You can view Fischer’s entire collection of local-tourist heat maps, and a collection of world-wide, city maps showing photo densities.

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The Lincoln Park Apple store (upper-left) in Chicago is no match for the rest of the city when it comes to photos. But it does draw some locals for photos.

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